Daily Archives: September 3, 2009

That was then, this is now, take II

Cos Cob Democrats outraged at poster depicting Obama as Hitler.

Oh, fine, but before you fella’s get too worked out about this, please click on this link  showing hundreds of Bush as Hitler posters and tell us when you said a word of protest.

bush-hitler1

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That was then, this is now

Democrats assail use of taxpayer funds for Bush’s speech to students.

Financing for a Bush Speech Is Attacked

Democrats assailed the Bush Administration today for spending $26,750 in taxpayer money to hire a production company that oversaw President Bush’s telecast from an eighth-grade classroom here to schoolchildren around the country on Tuesday.

The money came from the Education Department’s salary and expense budget. As a result, Representative William D. Ford, the Michigan Democrat who heads the House Education and Labor Committee, demanded that Education Secretary Lamar Alexander appear before the committee to defend his “spending scarce education dollars to produce a media event.”

Mr. Ford threatened to hold up action on the multibillion-dollar Higher Education Act until he received an explanation.

And the House majority leader, Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, said, “The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the President.”

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Well he’s no Freund of mine!

That didn’t last long. Someone got to our new Superintendent of Schools:

—–Original Message—–
From: Sidney Freund [mailto:Sidney_Freund@Greenwich.k12.ct.us]
Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 8:01 PM
To: Laura Rubin
Subject: Re: Sept. 8, Obama Addresses Students

Laura,

My perspective  has changed. We will be viewing the President’s message
and discussing it, but not on September 8th. We will review it and
carefully prepare age and grade approriate activities. Parents will be
advised by their building principal as to date and time.

Regards,

Sid Freund

I suggest we help our teachers out here and draft some sample questions for their students, such as:

Why should we listen to politicians when they play solitaire instead of listening to their fellows?

Why should we trust politicians when they turn every complicated issue into a 15 second sound bite?

Why do teachers work nine months of year yet get life-time guaranteed jobs with automatic salary increases regardless of their merit, after just three years?

(For each teacher): What were your SAT scores? And what was your GPA? Did you take any courses outside of the education curriculum?

I’m sure we can all, working together, come up with more. In the meantime, Dr. Freund’s email address is included in this post so that you can more easily communicate with him.

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I can’t wait for the first ADA suit here

England: hyper-active children give “que-jumping passes” so they don’t have to wait for rides at amusement parks. Some hard hearted bastards are complaining, saying that the policy undermines their efforts at instilling discipline in the children and pointing out that, later in life, they won’t be able to skip lines at banks or the post offices. Well why the hell not?

In ten years, if we last that long, we’ll have ADD lines as well as regular lines and, if Van Johnson has his way, probably “whites only” lines too. We going a long way, baby.

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Hope and change

Obama’s candidate for the “Green Jobs Czar” (at last count, our democracy now has over fifty czars), Van Johnson,turns out to be a 9/11 “Truther” the group that believes Bush/Cheney deliberately brought town the Twin Towers to start a war in the Middle East. With that kind of paranoid view of America, it’s hardly surprising that Mr. Johnson also said this:

“We’re really entering a third wave of environmentalism in the United States. The white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people of color communities.” You can watch the video here.

Even those of us who voted against the man hoped that Obama’s election would move this country past its divisive racial strife and unite all Americans into a single country again (or finally, take your pick). What a disappointment to see that the president has no such ambition.

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Today’s non-existent real estate activity

15 Wynnwood, new construction originally priced at $8.6 million was “sold direct” for $6.3 million. I’m just guessing here, but title had been held in the name of an LLC and the note was due, so this may have just been a sale back to the builder/owner. Very nice house, by the way, and approaching excellent value at this price, which I’d estimate was its cost to build.

9 Lauder Way, listed for $7.250 million in 2007, has dropped again and now asks $5.2 million. Another nice house and again, its new price is a definite improvement.

Not swayed in the slightest by these negative wussies, the owner of 29 Grosset Place in Riverside continues to hold his sale price at at least $1 million over its fair market price and today, unable to find a renter at $7,500 per month, raised it to $9,000. Mad Monkey’s lair?

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Doings in the local banking world

I have to wait until tomorrow to confirm but there’s a strong rumour that my least favorite banker has left his position “to pusue other opportunities”. Awww.

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Great moments in consumer protection

Not content with raiding back-yard tag sales, the feds are also worried about rocks. Too much lead! And worse, Overlawyered.com reports, they may be too sharp to meet another federal guideline. Some schools, Overlawyered says, have eliminated the use of live, dangerous rocks in the classrom and substituted colorful posters of granite in its natural habitat.

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What’s Realtorese for “Identical”?

We like to say, “one of a kind”. Like so (same builder, same street, same year -2007 – construction):

50 Cat Rock Rd. "This beautifully designed and constructed home is one of a kind"

50 Cat Rock Rd. "This beautifully designed and constructed home is one of a kind"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

113 Cat Rock - where have we seen this before?

113 Cat Rock - where have we seen this before?

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Does Greenwich Time think we’re cannibals?

Greenwich Time assigned a reporter (from Bridgeport, probably) to cover the Jim Himes ObamaKare meeting in Norwalk. That shows admirable effort,but it’s a shame the paper’s fired its editors. Now we get sentences like this: “Despite the voracity of supporters and the opponents, there were no serious incidents.”

(for the benefit of Vineyard Vines, here’s a definition:

1. Consuming or eager to consume great amounts of food; ravenous.2. Having or marked by an insatiable appetite for an activity or pursuit; greedy: a voracious reader.)

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When the bite is worse than the bark

ObamaKare supporter bites off finger of 65-year-old protester. Fortunately, the elderly victim is covered by Medicare.

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Skool Daze

So some people are poking fun at the “well-oiled machine” Obamaites are so proud of, pointing out that schools in New York, Boston and LA will be closed the day of his ObamaEdUKation speech. It’s possible that this slip-up on school schedules reflects disarray at the White House but really, why would Obama care about missing those three areas? Kids there are already being indoctrinated, every day, by the most liberal “educators” in the nation. The boys from Washington are going after the heartland, not already conquered seaboard cities.

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Patience rewarded

15 Lia Fail Way

15 Lia Fail Way

Lia Fail (site where the Irish kings of yore used to claim their throne, or something like that – ask Michael Dineen) is a really nifty street in Cos Cob close to the Mianus. This house was built on an acre, but adjoins conservation land, back in 1997 and recently renovated. It has a pool, good yard and in the neighborhood is the only 500 – seat marble amphitheatre that I am aware of in Cos Cob. It started off at $3.150 back in January, 2008 but now, after numerous price cuts, it’s down to $2.225. I think that’s an excellent price. Assessment is $1.924 so the sellers and the tax man are close to being in agreement. If you’re looking in this price range, you should visit.

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Chuck Schumer – more $ to S.E.C.

My favorite financial journalist, Teri Buhl, just sent me her notes from New York Senator Schumer’s press call. As follows (these are notes, mind you, not a polished article)

Wants to get legislation that all the fees the SEC collects from financial institutions go the SEC ( a novel ideal -did not that know doesn’t happen now)  In 2007, they collected $1.5bn in fees and only got $881m. If passed this could increase budget by more than 75%. money now goes to a general regulation budget and get dispersed out. He wants them to self- fund like the FDIC is suppose to when it bills banks.
 
Chuck says – “the fight between Wall Street and the SEC isn’t fair because they don’t have enough money to hire/retain talent.” – Basically they need to spend more to get smarter people. Wow! Agovt offical admits you have to pay for talent.
 
He thinks if they get more money they will spend it on hiring talent ( is that ever wishful thinking) or[more likely] spend it on updating their drab offices and 1980’s computer system. [My money’s on redecorating the offices, $0 on new computers, lot$ on higher existing staff salaries, $0 on better talent – CF]
 
Chuck says – SEC’s Shaperio supports this move (I would hope so).

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Had he been using a cellphone while making his get away, our cops would have nabbed him.

Cos Cobber sent along this link to an alarming Greenwich Time article about a Stamford kid caught after breaking into a Stanwich Road home and stealing jewelry. Alarming because, when he was arrested in Stamford (so, credit the cops, they really did apprehend him) a pat-down discovered a loaded .38 pistol. Sixteen years old! Just as alarming is that he was released on $500 bail.

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Rent vs. sell?

A number of readers have sent in this link to today’s Bloomberg article, written by my friend Oshrat Carmiel, on spec builders who are renting their creations when they can’t sell them. The story starts with the lady who built 63 Maple Avenue, discussed here from time to time, who finally threw in the towel and rented the place out for $13,000. Her carrying costs are $15,000, but she hopes to make up the loss when she puts it back on the market next March for $4.9 million, $500,000 higher than it was when it failed to sell this year. Good luck with that, ma’am. As I’ve written before, the house is built below grade on a very busy street with cheap(er) houses behind it. Neither of those conditions will change in the next nine months, so why should its price? The place will be older, used, and otherwise the same.

Carmeil closes her report with this quote, which I think nicely sums up the delusions of these builders:

Renting may not be wise for owners who eventually want to sell, said Mark Hanson, president of M. Hanson Advisors, a housing and mortgage research company in Menlo Park, California.

“It’s really doing nothing but delaying the inevitable,” Hanson said. “These houses are not going to double in price.”

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I hope she’ll take Charlie Rangel with her on her next visit

Japan’s new First Lady: “I was abducted by aliens and taken to Venus”.  Rangel is furious, of course, and blames racism: “All I got was a quick trip up Mianus.” Cos Cobbers are so rude.

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In this market, buyer’s patience is a virtue

42 Midwood

42 Midwood

Here’s a beautiful house in Deer Park that was built 14 years ago and came up for sale back in February, 2008, for $11.950. It didn’t sell at that price and today, almost two years later, it’s been reduced to $7.975. I’m not sure that is the right price even now (assessed value is around $5, but Deer Park can surprise the appraisers), but at least it gives you something to talk about. Not so before.

Assuming that you don’t want to pay asking price, and in this market I don’t think you do, be prepared to wait, and to put up with all sorts of nonsense while you do. My advice on owner-occupied used houses is to not even approach the seller until his second or, better, third price reduction. Before that, your realistic bid will merely annoy him and waste your time. Spec houses are a little different; after a few months of having their spanking new house sit there untouched while the interest payments pile up, builders tend to get religion. You can move sooner on them.

Failed spec houses, by which I mean unfinished homes, loans in default and just general bad things happening to the builder are an odd duck. Builders never go down without a fight, and they’ll scream and kick all the way to the closing table. You need a hard heart and a strong stomach for these houses (or your agent does) because your first bid will be met with a counter so high that you’ll wonder what exactly the builder has in his glue gun, but eventually, most of them accept the reality of the situation. Some don’t of course, and then you either move on or, if you really want the house, wait for it to settle in under its new bank ownership and try again. At least the emotion will have been removed from the transaction.

All of which is to say that we’re a far cry from 2005, when you’d be told by your agent when you first stepped foot in a house, “if you like this we have to make a bid today because there are four more buyers in the wings.”  Now you can relax and enjoy the luxury of time on most houses, but know that, with that benefit comes a test of your patience. Patience is cheap, so exercise it gladly.

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Folks, we have a winner here

Our new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Freund, came on board just a few weeks ago and has already removed one (and possibly two, depending on why the Hamilton Ave. principal left) principals – a good sign of someone ready to take charge and make changes. Now this, sent in from reader Laura Rubin, after she queried the Dr. on his plans for Obama Day:

—–Original Message—–
From: Sidney Freund [mailto:Sidney_Freund@Greenwich.k12.ct.us]
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 6:36 PM
To: Laura Rubin
Subject: Re: Sept. 8, Obama Addresses Students

At this time, absent a directive from the governor or commissioner of
education, I am not planning on having our students listen to the
president’s speech.

Sid Freund

Cool.

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